SPLC: 48 Confederate symbols removed from public square in 2022
The Southern Poverty Law Center has been tracking public symbols of the Confederacy since a 2015 church massacre
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center has released new data as part of its ‘Whose Heritage’ report, which tracks public symbols of the Confederacy across the U.S.
For 2022, the SPLC found that a total of 48 Confederate symbols were either removed, renamed or relocated from public spaces, including 16 monuments. That was up from the 17 monuments removed in 2021.
The organization started tracking and cataloging public displays of Confederate symbols in the wake of the 2015 massacre at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which claimed the lives of nine Black members, including the senior pastor. The gunman was reportedly radicalized by white supremacist websites, and his own website featured the Confederate battle flag.
“Despite progress in removing Confederate iconography from the American landscape, a critical part of telling the hard history of slavery and racism in this country, Southern states continue to block the removal of Confederate symbols,” said Susan Corke, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.
SPLC notes a total of seven states with laws on the books to prevent removal of Confederate memorials, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Similar legislation has been proposed for in Florida.
Some other states have accelerated the removal of Confederate symbols from the public square with Virginia leading the charge for the third straight year. It removed 13 symbols in 2022. Louisiana and North Carolina both removed seven, while Texas and New York reduced their public Confederate displays by five each, SPLC stated.
The SPLC’s map shows that, while Confederate symbols are most prevalent in the Deep South, there are a number of displays across the nation, including on the west coast. Most symbols stretching into the northeast have since been removed or renamed.
SPLC said pending removal of 47 symbols is also underway in eleven states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, as well as Puerto Rico.
Ten of the 47 symbols pending removal are schools that are expected to be renamed, SPLC stated, including one each in Alabama and Georgia and four each in South Carolina and Virginia.
To date, the SPLC says it has documented the public removal or renaming of 482 Confederate symbols since the church massacre, with more than 2,600 other symbols remaining.
The organization says nearly 900 of the symbols are monuments while the others include names of people associated with the Confederacy on government buildings, plaques, markers, schools, parks, counties, cities, military property, and streets and highways.
As for military installations, the U.S. Department of Defense has started the process or renaming bases, posts, ships, streets and other property named after Confederate soldiers. That includes nine military installations such as Fort Benning and Fort Rucker, which are now Fort Moore and Fort Novosel. The DOD’s Naming Commission has until Jan. 2024 to complete the transitions.
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